27 August 2019
Not only does the Amazon account for more than half of the planet’s remaining rainforest, it is also a vital carbon store – a key weapon in the fight against climate change.
The rainforest is also home to an estimated 30,000 indigenous people.
Today, the Amazon is burning at record levels.
The facts around the situation are not as clear as social media may show. Many of the images being shared across social platforms have been reported to be more than a decade old or taken somewhere else in the world entirely. However, official figures show that the number of fires has increased 80% compared to 2018.
So what is being done?
At first glance, it seems that politics getting in the way. The headlines today read that the Brazilian government has said that it will reject an offer of aid from G7 countries to tackle the fires. Commenting on the G7 offer of aid, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, told the Globo news website: “Thanks, but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe.”
It has been suggested that the President’s reticence to accept aid comes from his suspicion that European countries will use the Amazon fires as an opportunity to gain access to Brazil’s natural resources.
But where do you draw the line when it is an issue that affects the whole planet as well as future generations? Politics aside, it is estimated that the forest takes 20-40 years to regenerate after a fire. There is a chance of permanent damage. It could be catastrophic for the planet.
How do I help the Amazon?
It certainly feels like the situation is helpless from over here, however, there is plenty that we could do to help save the so-called ‘lungs of the earth’.
There are programmes to donate to sponsor an acre of the rainforest, supporting the groups who work to keep the rainforest safe. Places like Rainforest Action Network offer this service. There have also been protests and demonstrations across the globe as part of the #ActForTheAmazon campaign. This article lists a few ways in which you can show your support to help tackle the consequences of the fires.
It is frustrating to see one of the world’s most precious natural wonders burning to the ground at such a pace. Particularly while the people in power seemingly squabble over how to resolve the issue. That’s why we need to spread the word. We can do our bit to help protect something that could have a global impact if it isn’t resolved.
— WWF UK (@wwf_uk) August 21, 2019